The following was reprinted from the October 2021 issue of Nurse Aide Monthly:

Get the shot… it’s part of all caregivers’ ethical responsibilities!

   There is much discussion going on relative to caregiver ethics and the Covid vaccination. Some say it’s an ethical requirement to get the shot, others say it’s not.
   But, like it or not, here’s the bottomline: Caregivers are in a very special profession. And that’s because others are depending on them for their health, wellbeing… and even their lives.
   This makes them special. This makes it very clear that… whether they like it or not… it’s their ethical responsibility to get the shot, in order to protect the elders in their care.
   There continue to be instances whereby unvaccinated caregivers take the virus into their facilities and cause elders to get sick, and some even die.
   This is just flat-out unacceptable if you want to accept the responsibilities that go with caregiving.
   You might not like it, but it’s clearly one of the sacrifices you need to make to be a caregiver.
   “Do no harm is a core ethic for all those who care for the sick and injured. I think that physicians and, frankly, all those working in the health care system, have a fundamental obligation to patients by getting vaccinated for preventable diseases such as COVID 19,” said Audiey Kao, MD, PhD, the American Medical Association’s vice president of ethics.
   Certainly, you do not want to be responsible for the sickness or death or any of the elders under your care, when they’re depending on you for their health and wellbeing. Right?
   Bottomline… it’s part of your professional ethics and responsibility to the elders under your care to get vaccinated!

Unvaccinated nursing home employee causes Covid epidemic in nursing home. Three residents died.

“It is imperative that healthcare personnel and residents get vaccinated,” says CDC.

An unvaccinated employee is apparently responsible for a Coronavirus outbreak in a Kentucky nursing home that caused 26 residents and 20 healthcare personnel to get the disease, according to the CDC.
Three of those residents died.
The CDC said that 18 of those residents who became ill had been fully vaccinated, but only four personnel were vaccinated.
The CDC said that those 25% of vaccinated residents and 7% of vaccinated healthcare personnel got the disease, butt that those vaccinated “significantly less likely to experience symptoms or require hospitalization.”
The disease was caused by a Covid variant.
Of the 6 residents who got serious disease and needed to be hospitalized, 4 were unvaccinated and accounted for 2 of the 3 deaths.
“To protect skilled nursing facilities residents, it is imperative that healthcare personnel, as well as residents, be vaccinated” said the CDC.
Low vaccination rates among personnel may increase the chances of Covid getting into a nursing home and infecting residents, even if those residents havee been vaccinated, the CDC added.
You can read the entire CDC document here  https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7017e2.htm

Two choices: get the vaccine or get the disease

(Reprinted from the February issue of Nurse Aide/Monthly)

Fact is, the Covid pandemic will only stop when enough people have immunity to the virus to stop it from spreading. This is called “herd immunity.”
No one knows for sure how many people this requires with Covid.
But with other diseases it can be around 60% of the population up to over 90% for those diseases that are highly contagious.
And there are only two ways for people to get immunity to the virus:
1. Vaccination
2. By getting the disease itself
So, basically, you have these two choices. You can either get the vaccine, or risk getting the disease yourself.
Getting the disease has huge risks for you. It can cause death, or longterm damage to organs in your body, such as the lungs and heart.
Not only that, but if you catch it, you can spread it to others, including your elders, family members and friends. And the CDC says the vaccine is safe.

“Covid vaccines are safe and effective, says the agency. ” Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S.history.”   Here’s what Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO (the company who is producing one of the vaccines) says

“If you don’t take the vaccine, you are becoming the weak link that allows this virus to replicate. So please think twice before you make such a decision. And don’t let fear get in the way.”   Bottomline: Help stop this pandemic in its tracks. Get your vaccine. Protect yourself, your elders and your family.

A Covid Vaccine is coming, and CDC asks that you sign up for their vaccine “Partnership Program” in order to get it most efficiently at your longterm care facility.

The CDC is partnering with pharmacies to bring the vaccine to your longterm care facility.
The agency is requesting that you sign up for their  Covid “Pharmacy Partnership for Longterm Care Program” to make sure you get the vaccine as soon as possible. The CDC says it will send your signup information to your local Walgreens or CVS pharmacies… who are the ones who will be distributing the vaccine… and they will then get in contact with you to arrange delivery.
The CDC says it is possible that caregivers will get the vaccine before their elders, and emphasizes that  “we strongly encourage staff to be vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.”              To learn more about signing up go here: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/long-term-care/pharmacy-partnerships.html (Article reprinted from the Jan issue of Nurse Aide/VIP.)

New COVID education and training project is looking for nursing homes to sign up

The new “Project Echo National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network” is looking for nursing homes to sign up to participate in its training program.         The program was launched by the AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.)

The agency says that “We are actively recruiting nursing homes and training centers around the country to join this interactive community of practice to collaboratively advance improvements in COVID-19 preparedness, safety, and infection control.”                                                                                                                           Any nursing home in the US can participate, AHRQ says, adding that the goals of the program are to “rapidly assist nursing homes in consistently implementing evidence-based best practices to protect residents and staff.”                                                                                                                                                                                        You can learn more about the program here: https://hsc.unm.edu/echo/institute-programs/nursing-home/pages/

Applications Are Open for 2020 Innovations in Alzheimer’s Caregiving awards

It’s sponsored by the Family Caregivers Alliance, and winners in each of three categories get $20,000 in prize money. Deadline is Oct. 30. For more information:

https://www.caregiver.org/alz-caregiving-awards

CMS now encourages nursing home visits

COVID restrictions are taking a heavy emotional toll on those elders in longterm care, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CMS) issued new guidelines on Sept. 17 that encourages nursing homes to allow visitors using COVID precautions.

Here’s what the agency said: “While CMS guidance has focused on protecting nursing home residents from COVID-19, we recognize that physical separation from family and other loved ones has taken a physical and emotional toll on residents. Residents may feel socially isolated, leading to increased risk for depression, anxiety, and other expressions of distress.

“Visitation can be conducted through different means based on a facility’s structure and residents’ needs, such as in resident rooms, dedicated visitation spaces,
outdoors, and for circumstances beyond compassionate care situations.”

Here are some of their guidelines for infection prevention during these visits:

• Screening of all who enter the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., temperature checks, questions or observations about signs or symptoms), and denial of entry of those with signs or symptoms
•Hand hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred)
•Face covering or mask (covering mouth and nose)
•Social distancing at least six feet between persons
•Instructional signage throughout the facility and proper visitor education on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, infection control precautions, etc.
•Cleaning and disinfecting high frequency touched surfaces in the facility often, and designated visitation areas after each visit
•Appropriate staff use of PPE
•Effective cohorting of residents (e.g., separate areas dedicated COVID-19 care)
•Resident and staff testing conducted as required

The CDC added that all visits should be undertaken outside whenever possible, but that when the elder cannot leave their room, “facilities should attempt to enable in-room visitation while adhering to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention.” You can read the entire document here: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-39-nh.pdf

Caregivers need to be doing much more to keep elders active!

It seems that caregivers are not doing nearly enough to keep their elders active during the pandemic. A new survey by Altarum, a healthcare consulting agency, shows that 64% of nursing home residents are not leaving their rooms to socialize, and 54% reported they were not participating in any in-home activities.

Plus, visitors are way down, and the net result of all this is that 76% felt lonelier than usual.

The surveyors said: “The findings are stark, showing a drastic reduction in social activities and a steep increase in reported feelings of loneliness.” This is a serious situation in some nursing homes, and frontline caregivers can help considerably.

In fact, this survey clearly shows that frontline caregivers should be doing a lot more!
Get them out of their rooms, even if it’s for short, frequent walks. This is not rocket science… just simple walks up and down the hallways, maybe with occasional stops in the doorways of other elders, can help a lot. Or arrange for them to visit others in the nursing home, using masks and proper distancing. Or help arrange for games, such as bingo, that they
can play sitting in their doorways. Visit and chat with them more frequently than before, as you may be the only visitors they’re getting. What you don’t want to do is stand around doing
nothing to help your elders during these depressing times. Instead, think of some creative things you can do to help get through this.

Remember: The health and well being of your elders is your main job as a caregiver, and they need you more than ever before!
You can read their whole report here: https://altarum.org/news/survey-nursing-home-residents-revealsdeep-emotional-toll-social-isolation-under-covid-19

Feeling stressed? Need help?

COVID is causing a huge amount of stress among caregivers everywhere… not like anything seen in recent times. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) has a lot of information on its website to help you get through stressful times.

To access their free booklet Tips for Healthcare Professionals: Coping with Stress and Compassion Fatigue go here:
https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Tips-for-HealthcareProfessionals-Coping-with-Stress-and-CompassionFatigue/PEP20-01-01-016?referer=from_search_result